Real Life Networks
Information Syndication (Publishing)
Content Sharing (General/All Purpose, Books, Songs, Videos, Pics, Websites, Articles)
“Real Life” Networks
Facebook – This is basic. Everyone should have a basic online profile with pics and friend connections for ease of not having to remember emails, and making new connections.
MySpace – This is the more advanced profile, and kind of underclass, but a well put together MySpace can allow for you to reach a large network and provide them a ton of information all in one place.
LinkedIn – For business, professional network. Here you can link to your boss and coworkers to get a reference or find a job, etc.
Twitter – This is new basic. Everyone needs to have a microblog for link sharing and status updates. The difference between status updates on Twitter vs. Facebook or Myspace is that other users won’t be writing on your “wall” so readers of your updates don’t have to look through other user comments. Twitter is much more for personal link sharing than a facebook update. Facebook is more for personal activity and feelings updates. A correctly used Twitter (one that garners followers) gives them the information they want (links with short description), not that you are sitting on the toilet or about to shave.
Tumblr – This is a very nice site for creating a free blog. The look is very clean and web 2.0. If you would like to create your own content and share it with others – maybe your own video messages or podcasts or just text and pictures, you can with Tumblr, WordPress.com, or Blogspot, but I’ve found Tumblr to be especially clean looking and easy to customize. As opposed to Blogspot which is outdated and has far fewer template options. WordPress.com is great too, but I think it is less social networkish than Tumblr. So if your goal is to connect your friends to your blog or more so connect yourself to your friends’ (probably future) blogs you would want to go with a Tumblr account.
WordPress.com – Unlike its .org counterpart .com allows you to host your blog free. However, the downside to this is you don’t have your own .com, but your blog is at yoursite.wordpress.com (this is the same for Tumbler, your site would be yoursite.tumblr.com). WordPress has a million themes and templates which is nice, but the drawback here is that since it’s more bloggerish than Tumblr it won’t be as social networkish / profileish (connecting to local friends like on Facebook) as Tumbler. The solution is to get an account on both and then use a syndication site (like ping.fm) to broadcast your posts on both simultaneously.
WordPress.org – The .org is basically software you download to create a blog on a domain (.com). Owning a .com costs $10/yr and hosting costs about $8/mo (go with hostgator for unlimited domains, emails, and bandwidth) but the WordPress software is free. It looks and works much the same as the WordPress.com blogs, but here since you have your own domain, the search engines rate you higher and you don’t have to hope your friends and contacts remember the .wordpress in the middle of your blog’s name.
Xanga – I’m still kind of unfamiliar with this site, but it seems to have some great blogs, and is a whole new community to find good blogs to read. For publishing purposes however, I’d stick to WordPress or Tumblr unless you are going to syndicate your blog posts to several blogs in which case grab as many blog sites as you can.
Squidoo – A fantastic site for building a unique network. Users create their own “lens” where other users follow them. Created by Seth Godin, author of Small is the new Big. More review to come here. This site is so key!
HubPages – This site seems very good too. Similar to Squidoo in that they both help your blogs SEO by asking you for detailed blog purposes and intended content when registering.
Typepad, Blogger (Blogspot) – I’m not going to consider these because Typepad costs money and Blogger is inferior to WordPress and Tumblr. I started out using Blogger because I’m a Google fan, but it’s terrible compared to WordPress. The theme selection is so limited, and the end product produced by Blogger just looks so web 1.0 – meaning small font, hard to look at, etc. Tumblr is so clean and easy to look at, with a ton of selection. The only thing I can see that Blogger has that is nice is a much easier layout design process. Meaning if you want a picture in a given spot on the page its really easy to move it to where you want it, and that goes for any “gadget” (adsense ad, text box, blogroll list, etc.)
Plaxo – Allows you to connect to many profiles to consolidate all your friends activities from Flickr, MySpace, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social network. You can create groups here too, so you can syndicate certain content to certain audiences as well.
Multiply – This service is great if you have multiple blogs and want to blend the syndication all to one site – meaning if you have a few blogspot blogs for say Internet Marketing, Economics Commentary, and Poem Sharing, and you want to blend them all into one website so that your followers can easily follow all your posts, use Multiply. This will help you “cross sell” your blogs so you can get a reader of one blog interested in another, or to let a new user decide which blog they are most interested in – sort of as a landing page. Think Plaxo, but instead of consolidating your friends activities and status updates, in consolidates your different blog posts.
Disqus – This service is great for comments. Annoyed at leaving a comment and then having to remember where and what comments you left and have to go back and check? Disqus is for you. Also, great for developers that manage more than one blog or forum.
Key benefits for Commenters, Readers
- Track and manage comments and replies
- Verified commenter reputations across sites
- More control over your own comments on websites
- Never lose your comments, even if the website goes away
- Build a global profile, or comment blog, to collect and show off what you’re saying
- Easier to comment on websites using Disqus
- Reply to comments through email or mobile
- Edit and republish comments with one click
Information Syndication (Broadcasting)
Ping.fm – This service is great for managing multiple online profiles and micro blogs. For instance if you want to update your Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter status all at once, simply go to Ping.fm and update your status there. Ping will “ping” that update to all your profiles at once. This tool greatly increases ones ability to manage multiple online profiles. Additionally, it has a feature that allows you to place your different profiles in different groups or categories so if your friends are on facebook and myspace, but coworkers are on linkedin and the update is only appropriate for friends, you can put all your friend profiles in one group and send the update only to those accounts. All your business or professional accounts you could place in another group.
Posterous – Similar to Ping.fm but this site allows you to post via email. I’m unsure if they provide a way to syndicate content to different audiences however. More to come soon.
Digg – This is probably my favorite sharing vehicle. For one thing, it’s one of the most widely supported sharing services, which means anything you like you can usually “digg” which can serve a couple of purposes.
1. For you -A Digg can serve as a bookmark for yourself – I often just digg something and then later go surf my own digg list to read it later or reference it later. It can also serve as a link to your blog. Viewers of your Diggs can also see your Digg profile and what other articles, songs, videos, etc. that you liked, and you can attract them to your other sites or blogs. You can find other people that dugg what you dugg and find more interesting / cool stuff through what else they dugg.
2. For your friends – Digg is easier to post to than Twitter say for capturing content and boiling it down to an attractive little blurp with a thumbnail instead of just a short non-descript hyperlink as you would put in Twitter.
Websites / Bookmarking
Faves – This is a similar site to Digg, but I would use it for websites instead of articles, although it can be for articles and most other things too. If your friend wants to see what your “Faves” are they can check out your profile – anything: books, music, games, movies, etc. Where as I think Digg is great for links / articles. Although I do think you could use Faves as a bookmarking service I wouldn’t recommend it if you do a lot of bookmarking and use tags. For this I would recommend Delicious. Update – I am not a big fan of this site because of the looks of it. I might put my faves on some other site such as StumbleUpon.
StumbleUpon – Although most StumbleUpon pages are created by the youngest subset of the population and so end up being mostly game-ish and shallow. What I mean is they are more like pages than sites, and are commonly frivolous subjects.
Diigo – Diigo and Delicious are very similar, however with Diigo the chief advantage being the highlight and sticky note features. You can highlight and add a sticky note that will pop up when the link is scrolled over by your friend. This way they can quickly find and understand what you thought about a page and why it’s cool or important.
Delicious – Displays your bookmarks with their favicons, unlike Diigo. At first, I hated Delicious because it felt web 1.0 to me with the look and feel of the page. Also, I didn’t like the way my bookmarks sidebar was organized. Only until I imported all my old bookmarks did this system make sense to me because then it auto tagged them with whatever title I gave the folder I had originally placed them in using the Mozilla bookmarks. Also, utilizing it as a search engine is highly rewarding since it searches sites that other people have bookmarked so they are probably more relevant.
Goodreads – This site is excellent for sharing and finding books to read. Period. No other site will compete with Goodreads for book sharing, bookclubs, and just talking with other people about the books you like or are reading. Users of any online profile might have a list of books they like on their profile, like on Faves, but as soon as they find Goodreads they will put a link to their Goodreads account instead. It’s just so easy to find, rate, and share book recommendations.
Blogs (where to find them)
Technorati – This site is great for finding new blogs. It’s basically a blog search engine. Type in an interest or check out their lists of the most popular blogs by category, and the top 100 blogs is a great list to check out to get started reading/viewing what the most cutting-edge people (bloggers) are talking about.
Last.fm – This is where I discover all my music. Two features I really like about it are that you can get similar artists for any artist you like, and two that you can also see which songs by that (previously unknown) artist are popular – it gives you a play count for the ten most popular tracks for a given artist.
Blip.fm – This is where I share (broadcast) my favorite songs. This site is great because unlike most sites it lets you play any song you want on-demand, and it remembers what you play in your “blips” so you can just go back and play them again like an online playlist. It is also very social network too because you can set it up so that whenever you blip (play a new) a song it will syndicate that to your Twitter account. Your friends that follow your Twitter will see what songs you like and can click on your blip.fm page and see more info about you. In essence, this service allows you to be the DJ of your own radio station, and you can find other DJ’s on it that play the artists you like and you can listen to artists they like but you haven’t heard of yet.
Flickr – Flickr is great for finding very nice photos, they tend to be enhanced or edited better than google images. Many artsy types will upload their photos to Flickr and searching these images is easy and kind of fun. I also uploaded my photos, not of friends and family, but of things, such as photographic artwork.
PicasaWeb – Picasa is what I use to edit all my pics. A great free picture editing and organizing program you should definitely download, like for sure! PicasaWeb is the website to which you can upload all your pics. This is where I put my family pics, friend pics usually go on Facebook. I’ll upload everything to PicasaWeb and put it in a private folder and then pick and choose which ones I put on Facebook from there.
Videos / Powerpoints / Slideshows
YouTube – The mother of all internet video sites. The largest video network on the web, and the best source of viewer traffic. Make sure to tag all your videos with as many keywords as you can.
Vimeo – It is similar to YouTube, but it allows the user to upload videos longer than 10min, which is VERY key. Also, I believe it is more of a social network than YouTube is… One other VERY nice feature of Vimeo is that it allows the user to select which thumbnail the “yet to be clicked on” video displays as its cover.
SlideShare – This is great for sharing powerpoint presentations and other slide shows.
Scribd – This is much like SlideShare, but I’ve been getting better traffic, and more followers on this page, than I do to any of my blogs or the same content which is on SlideShare. It is also very nice to look at. Right now, I’m loving Scribd over SlideShare.
Applications / Software / CD’s
Freeware – These links are by far and away the best source of anything you might want. Soon I’ll be comprising my own list with a review.
Best Freeware Picks, Software Downloads, & Tech Tips
|Security & Privacy: Antivirus – Firewall – Virtualization – Antispyware – HIPS – Anonymous Surfing
Home, Office, & Desktop: Office Suite – Portable Apps Suite – PDF Writer – PDF Reader – PDF Tools
Still Reading? Games, Lists, Tutorials, & More: Top 20 Miscellaneous Lists, Guides, Articles
Torrentz – This site is key because you can get verified clean and working files. Torrents are a new type of file that will download your desired songs, software, etc. from multiple users simultaneously. If you use Vuze or another .torrent search engine to search for files, there is no guarantee they will work and not infect your computer. Torrentz.com fixes that problem.
uTorrent – This is an application to download .torrent files. So, you would find the file you want to download by searching for it at Torrentz.com then when you click to download it at one of the affiliate sites (vertor.com, thepiratebay.org, torrenthound.com are a few of my favorites) your uTorrent application will open to download the file (it’s kind of like a download manager).